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Mississippian Mortuary PracticesBeyond Hierarchy and the Representationist Perspective$
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Lynne P. Sullivan and Robert C. Mainfort

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813034263

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813034263.001.0001

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Mississippian Dimensions of a Fort Ancient Mortuary Program

Mississippian Dimensions of a Fort Ancient Mortuary Program

The Development of Authority and Spatial Grammar at Sun Watch Village

(p.113) 7 Mississippian Dimensions of a Fort Ancient Mortuary Program
Mississippian Mortuary Practices

Robert A. Cook

University Press of Florida

Several researchers of Fort Ancient evolution have concluded that Mississippian migrations and interactions stimulated Fort Ancient development, while others have denied any significant outside influence on the development of the Fort Ancient way of life. We can no longer assume that a clearly identifiable elite and a hierarchical settlement pattern were universal characteristics of Mississippian societies. Mississippian and Fort Ancient communities also are commonly described as chiefdoms and tribes, respectively, the outcomes of different evolutionary pathways. This essay examines Mississippian dimensions of Fort Ancient mortuary practices at the SunWatch village in Dayton, Ohio. The site contains a clearly Mississippian-style feature (a wall-trench house) and artifacts (negative-painted pottery, shell-tempered pottery, discoidals), and was occupied during the “crest” of neighboring Mississippian developments (between A.D. 1100 and 1500). This essay analyzes the relationship between Mississippian characteristics and the emergence of power within a defined social group. Row patterning is evident in burial groups throughout the SunWatch village.

Keywords:   Fort Ancient, SunWatch village, Mississippian migrations, chiefdoms, tribes, mortuary practices, artifacts, power, burial groups, row patterning

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